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The first travel credit card I ever opened was the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in 2014.
Having spent years diligently reading a collection of travel websites, this was the unanimously recommended credit card for beginners in the world of award travel. Its points were easy to use, and they were valuable enough to single-handedly fulfill bucket-list travel goals of mine (like visiting Machu Picchu and flying to the other side of the world in a lie-flat airplane seat).
I’ve received many thousands of dollars in value from earning and redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But I’ve been thoroughly astonished at how much money I’ve saved from its ongoing benefits — namely, its various travel insurances.
I love using the card as part of my free-travel strategy. But its travel insurance is the reason I’ll never cancel it. Here are the ways it’s helped me over the years.
Primary rental car insurance has saved me $3,000+
Rental agency fees
When you pay for your rental car with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and waive the rental agency’s collision damage waiver, you’ll automatically receive primary rental car insurance covering damage or theft. This is an excellent perk, because the rental company’s in-house insurance can easily cost $15 or more per day.
Read more: 5 Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits make it one of the most valuable credit cards, beyond a huge sign-up bonus and rewards
I’ve used this benefit dozens of times, and have saved more than $800 from not being required to purchase proprietary insurance at the front desk.
Damage to rental car
During a trip to Ireland, I scraped my rental car against a cement pillar in a parking lot. The damage was minimal, though there was a bit of paint missing. I informed the rental company of the damage, and they told me they’d assess the damages and charge my card accordingly.
A few days later, there appeared on my credit card a charge for $2,300 — exorbitant for the minimal damage done to the car. I contacted Chase, and after sending a few documents regarding the accident, they sent me a check for $2,300 to cover the bill. There were no headaches, and I had the check within a few weeks.
Trip delay insurance has saved me $600
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best credit cards for trip delay insurance.
When you reserve your flight with this card, Chase will reimburse you (and immediate family traveling with you) for “reasonable expenses” such as food, lodging, transportation, and toiletries if one of the following things applies to you:
- Your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours
- Your delay causes you to stay overnight
You’ll be covered up to $500 per ticket.
I’ve used trip delay insurance a handful of times, usually when I purchase a fare that is the last scheduled flight of the day. If my flight is delayed and I miss a connection, I’m stuck there until morning.
Read more: Several Chase credit cards offer reimbursement for food and hotels if your trip is delayed — here’s how to file a claim
Chase has reimbursed me hundreds of dollars over the years for things like:
- Meals at the airport or at a restaurant
- Rideshare expenses from the airport to a hotel
- Hotel accommodations (nice ones, too)
If your flight is delayed by 12 hours or warrants an overnight stay, you’re free to start swiping your card for free food, hotel, etc. Just file a claim and Chase will promptly refund you.
Baggage delay insurance has saved me $500
When you reserve your flight with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll receive automatic baggage delay insurance. If your checked bag is delayed by more than six hours, you’re entitled to up to $100 per day in necessities, for up to five days.
Reasonable expenses include items like:
- Phone chargers
During a trip a few years ago, my bag was lost for over a week. I received the full $500 payout from this card benefit, and purchased a new suit and dress shoes, as I was going to a conference and my formal wear was in my checked bag. All things considered, I’d say that delay was worth it to receive $500 in clothes.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. It charges a $95 annual fee, but its travel insurance has already saved me more than 40x that fee.
As long as the card continues to outperform its annual fee, I won’t be canceling it.
Good to Excellent
3 free nights (each valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases and 10x total points on eligible purchases in select categories
Good to Excellent
$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
Good to Excellent